Adzuki Butternut Squash Soup Recipe

A hearty adzuki and butternut squash soup recipe adapted from Jae Steele's Get It Ripe cookbook. The soup has a bit of chipotle flavor and is made even better with a drizzle of cilantro olive oil prior to serving.

Adzuki Butternut Squash Soup

You've likely walked past the diminutive adzuki a hundred times in the bin section of your local market. Next time stop, fill a bag, and take a few hundred tiny red pebbles home with you. They're great, nutritional powerhouses, and the stars of a hearty stew-like soup I'm highlighting today. If you've never had them before, they have a sweet, subtly grassy flavor, tender skins, and hold their petite shape beautifully. You cook them just as you would any other dried beans. Paired with butternut squash here you've got sweet on sweet, which is then offset by a good dose of chipotle pepper, cilantro, and proper seasoning.

Adzuki Butternut Squash Soup

The recipe is adapted from a soup I discovered in Jae Steele's Get It Ripe cookbook - an inspiring volume I picked up last year in a book store up the street from my house. Jae is a Canadian-based holistic nutritionist, and her cookbook is filled with recipes emphasizing whole, unprocessed ingredients. All 150 recipes are vegan, and she notes special dietary considerations as well - gluten-free, soy-free, etc. It has become harder and harder for me to find cookbooks that highlight the palette of ingredients I'm most interested in exploring, so I was particularly excited when I saw this one. Her cookies, cakes, and brownies often feature spelt or other whole grain flours, and are more often sweetened with maple syrup than granulated sugar. She also includes a few primer sections in the front of the book covering topics ranging from eating local and stocking your whole foods pantry, to digestion basics and micro-nutrient content of certain whole foods. For those of you looking to incorporate more veg-friendly, whole foods into your meals (and baking!) - there are lots of great ideas here.

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Adzuki Butternut Squash Soup Recipe

if you like a bit more smoky heat, add more chipotle pepper to taste toward the end. Jae uses 1-2 chopped red bell peppers in place of the tomatoes here. You could certainly use a vegetable stock here in place of the water, but be sure to scale back on the added salt if you go this route - stock can be on the salty side. As with many stews, it's even better the day after, and I've been enjoying it over brown rice as well.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon (dried) coriander
2 teaspoons finely chopped chipotle pepper (from can, or rehydrated from dried chile)
2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
2 medium-large onions
6 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
5 - 6 cups water
5 whole canned tomatoes, chopped
4 cups cooked or canned adzuki beans

cilantro drizzle (optional)*

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the cinnamon, coriander, chipotle and salt and saute for a minute or two - until aromatic. Add the onions and saute another 5 minutes or so, until they start to go translucent. Add the garlic and butternut squash, stir well, and then add 5 cups of water. Increase the heat to bring to a boil, and once boiling, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for afew minutes, until the squash begins to soften - 5 - 10 minutes.

Once the squash has softened, use a potato masher and break up the squash pieces a bit. Add the tomatoes, and cook a couple more minutes before adding the beans. Serve drizzled with the cilantro.

Serves about 8.

* I made a quick cilantro drizzle by finely mincing a handful of cilantro. I put it in a jar, and poured just enough olive oil over to cover - plus a couple pinches of salt.

Adapted from Jae Steele's Get It Ripe: A Fresh Take on Vegan Cooking and Living (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2008)

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Like m above, I'm more familiar with adzuki in its sweet manifestations from my time in Japan: a gooey, tasty mochi. It is, without question, one of the sweetest confections ever to cross my lips. You'll likely encounter it on your trip to Japan! But I can't wait to try adzukis in a more firey/earthy palette like this one

Jess @ lavidaveggie

In Japan, azuki is cooked with mochi [glutinous] rice, then sprinkled with a bit of salt as a celebratory food. Also, I love sweetened azuki paste [anko] with mochi. Deeelicious. Since the azuki is so earthy, I think you can replace the granulated sugar with natural sweeteners. Heidi, thanks for reminding me to get back to my roots -- and explore past them!


Heidi, I made a stew-soup like this in the fall--I used cranberry beans, butternut squash, a tomato-y base, and the same sweet-spicy notes of cinnamon and pepper (I used a chili powder). I also added brown sugar, which was exactly what it needed, and with a grainy bread on the side, it was *perfect* for fall. I found the inspiration in the foods themselves, and thought I'd made something very unfamiliar and unusual...until now! Great minds think alike, eh.

Erin @ Sprouted In the Kitchen

I LOVE butternut squash - it's so hearty and delicious, especially when it's cold outside. Back when the weather first started to turn chilly, my knee-jerk reaction was to go home and make up a batch of butternut squash soup. I've never tried Adzuki beans, but I definitely look forward to doing so. For another similar butternut squash stew, try out this recipe for Aztec Stew. I'm sure you'll love it!

Hartley from Kitchen Caravan

Hey Heidi, This soup looks perfect for a cold winter's night. I have recently been using a lot of dried beans in my cooking, both for economic and convenience reasons, though I've yet to try adzuki beans

Dallas from Bitchin' Kitchen

Butternut makes such a lovely soup, I love the addition of the adzuki beans though!


Sandy, the green are most likey the cilantro drizzle that is described at the end of the recipe. This sounds great! I love the combination of chipotle and cinnamon. Can't wait to try it out.


The picture of the soup looks like there are greens, but there are no greens in the recipe.


mmmmmmm. adzuki beans are sweet and delicious. i cannot wait to taste them with the smokiness of the chipotle. thank you so much!


Adzuki beans are so creamy and such a lovely color. Thanks for the cookbook recommendation - I love the books where I learn about the ingredients as opposed to just recipes!


I can credit macrobiotics for introducing me to the fine adzuki bean. Your recipe sounds a lot better than any macrobiotic recipe, for sure. How much longer do we have for winter squashes this year? Let's eat 'em while we have 'em!

Michelle @ What Does Your Body Good?

served over brown rice sounds perfect!!

Tabitha (From Single to Married

That looks so good, and I love the combo choice of cinnamon and coriander. mmm.


I love, love, LOVE butternut squash! I don't eat it enough, though. :( Great-looking recipe!! :)


Looks delicious and I'll definitely keep an eye out for that cookbook :) Thanks, Heidi!


When we go out to eat, adzuki bean soup is sometimes served as a dessert in Chinese restaurants. The adzuki beans are basically cooked in water until it forms a soup and the beans are softened, and then some sweetner is added to it. So rich and creamy and delicious.


That looks really great. And it's good to know the adzuki hold their shape. Such a bummer when beans totally break down in a hearty soup. Also love all the cilantro!

The Duo Dishes

I've never had adzuki beans before, but I'm a bean fanatic so I want to try them soon. This looks like a fabulous recipe.


Hello Heidi, Adzuki beans and kabocha squash often make a great combination in Japanese dishes (including cakes and other sweets!), and I bet this works beautifully with butternut squash. The addtion of the herbs and spices sound intriguing, too... I've made some curry with adzuki and kabocha before, and I imagine this is a bit like it. Yum!


That looks lovely. Somehow, even now in February, I've not grown tired of winter squash...not when there are so many tasty ways to prepare it! Looks like a tasty recipe...I like the added cinnamon. I'm looking forward to trying this one!

Laurel from Simple Spoonful

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